Enhancing natural rubber (Hevea brasiliensis production through extension service delivery in south west agricultural zone of Nigeria

  • A E Agwu Department of Agricultural Extension University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria
Keywords: Improved technologies, Natural rubber, Hevea brasiliensis, Extension Service

Abstract



The study investigated extension activities in natural rubber production in South West Zone of Nigeria. Fifty rubber farmers randomly selected from five communities in the rubber belt sub-zone were sampled. A structured interview schedule was used in collecting data from the respondents.Statistical analysis was accomplished by means of frequency distribution, percentages and mean scores. Findings indicated that 86 percent of the respondents attended at least primary school, 42 percent were primarily engaged in farming and 46 percent used family/hired labour in carrying out various rubber production activities. The mean age of the respondents was 47 years, while the mean farm size was 2.32 hectares. Most of the respondents acquired their farmlands through inheritance and financed their farming activities from personal savings. Furthermore, the average number of extension visits to the farmers per year was approximately 1, however as high as 48 per cent of the farmers had never been visited by any extension agent. Very few farmers adopted the use of improved tapping techniques, recommended tapping time and use of agrochemicals, while the rest of the improved rubber production technologies were not adopted at all. The major constraints associated with rubber production in the area include low price for rubber, lack of adequate market for primary produce (latex and rubber lump), inadequate capital and lack of contact with extension agents and other important sources of information, among others. Farmers' major suggestions to problems encountered in rubber production in the area include provision of basic infrastructural amenities, provision of extension services and provision of adequate market for rubber produce. The study concluded that the organization of training and enlightenment programmes, as well as, provision of agro inputs through the agricultural extension services of the Rubber Research Institute of Nigeria and the Tree Crop Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural esources are necessary to enable farmers benefit from the available improved rubber production technologies.

Keywords: Improved technologies, Natural rubber, Hevea brasiliensis, Extension Service delivery, Nigeria.

Agro-Sciences Vol. 5 (2) 2006: pp. 7-16
Published
2007-02-27
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1119-7455